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There are numerous ways to save bandwidth when streaming video. Most of them, however, have a direct negative impact on the quality of the stream (e.g. lowering bit rate, frame rate or resolution).
Luckily, you can seek out more sophisticated forms of saving bandwidth, ones that have no or very little negative consequences.
The most well known technology is Zipstream by AXIS. It’s supposed to save about 50% of transferred data without lowering the quality of your stream. And our own tests confirm that you can really achieve these savings with AXIS.
Zipstream turns out to be most useful for night scenes and static scenes.
You can turn it on in your camera settings via the Video Stream Settings / Zipstream section. Turn H.264 bitrate reduction to High and turn on Dynamic GOP (Zipstream can only be used with newer camera models).
Other camera manufacturers certainly don’t want to be left behind, so you can check out technologies like Vivotek Smart Stream, Hikvision Smart H.264 and Arecont Bandwidth Saving Mode.
If your IP camera supports both H.264 and MJPEG, you might be asking yourself: which format should I choose?
Let us help.
The technical side of things
The main difference between H.264 and MJPEG is that MJPEG only compresses individual frames of video, while H.264 compresses across frames.
MJPEG is the compilation of separately compressed JPEGs in a sequence, which leads to high quality outcome in terms of resolution.
With H.264, on the other hand, only some frames are compressed by themselves, while most of them only record changes from the previous frame. This can save a significant amount of bandwidth compared to MJPEG (which encodes each frame as new), but results in a video of lower quality.
+ reduces bandwidth and storage consumption significantly
+ adaptive video quality based on bandwidth
+ suitable for storage
+ / – complexity setup – sometimes tricky to set up – streaming quality, frame rate and i frame rate. GOP, VBR, CBR etc.
+ consistently great image quality
+ robustness, if one frame is dropped, then it does not affect the video
– no sound
– consumes much more bandwidth and storage
– no storage support at angelcam
In conclusion, when it comes to deciding whether to use MJPEG or H.264, it always comes down to what the consumer is looking for and where the camera is being installed. Although H.264 will be the preferred way for many, MJPEG may be a format of choice for those who seek higher quality with crisp details, but can’t support the H.264 stream.
I was wondering what should be the first thing worth mentioning when installing a camera and then something crossed my mind. The main thing is to plan the installation before you buy any camera because there are different aspects that might render some cameras useless for your application.
So here are the main aspects you should consider when installing a camera:
1. Think of the reason of your camera system, plan in advance, buy cameras later. Simply avoid the troubles with bad choice. Angelcam recommends everyone to consider the conditions first and purchase suitable cameras afterwards. Once you appear in the last step “Purchase the camera” you can check our page with recommended cameras.
2. Identifying your camera on the network is easy when you purchase a camera from a well established manufacturer. You get a tool which will scan your network and find the cameras. In other cases you can check if your camera wasn’t detected as a network device (cameras with UPnP presentation enabled) and if you can’t find it, the you would have to scan your network with for example angry IP scanner.
3. Always install the camera facing the entrance point (door, windows), having a footage of someone’s back won’t help you with the identification.
4. Don’t install the cameras too high, always make sure you are clearly able to see a person’s face, not just the head, again, it won’t help you with the identification.
You already know how to install an IP camera, here are some tips related to camera settings:
1. Resolution: for most indoor applications, you don’t need more than a 1 MPx (720p) camera, you don’t need to pursue the highest resolution, look for a good image quality instead (light sensitivity in Lux in color and B/W mode).
2. Frame rate: if it is possible, use the highest available frame rate, lower the framerate only in case you have some bandwidth/storage limitations, in that case, 15 fps is still enough for security purposes, it won’t limit you when identifying a walking/running person.
3. Flickering is also associated with the frame rate, it is caused by difference in the power line frequency (60 or 50Hz depending on the country you live in) and the frame rate and shutter times. Anti-flicker modes sync these values so the picture is not degraded. Be careful, some cameras come in different versions, so not every camera will be able to sync with your powerline frequency.
4. IR illumination: There are not many configuration options in this case, so when installing the camera with an IR illumination, check if there aren’t any surfaces reflecting the IR light back to the camera.
5. Blurry image at night, in this case the camera is increasing the exposure time too much, making the picture clearer (allowing more light through to the sensor during longer time) but making any movement blurry. Simply decrease the maximum exposure time to 1/15s or so and you shouldn’t get any more blur. Also note that longer exposure time also reduces the framerate (with some exceptions)
6. Streaming settings is usually set to quite a high quality from factory, you just might want to check if the compression is set to h264, that the I-frame (keyframe) frequency is set to roughly 1s (1x the framerate value=usually 30 or 25). If you’re experiencing some issues, it is a good idea to set a maximum bitrate so that the camera doesn’t send too much data, for example at night. For cloud solutions, it is good to keep the maximum around 1500-2000 kbps for a 720p or 1080p camera, for local storage it might be 4000-6000. These are the common values, you need to take into account your connection speed and your storage capacity as well.
7. Connection quality is pretty much connected with the bitrate, most cameras can handle only up to 10 concurrent connections (depending on the stream quality settings), any new connections are refused once this happens. This is however the maximum value, if your stream quality is high, you can observe increased delay, choppy image or even connection loss with as low as 5 connected viewers.
8. Outdoor/indoor cameras, this basic division just distinguishes which cameras can be mounted outside, in cold/hot environment, working in rainy or dusty conditions. The most common standard for such cameras is called IP66. Cameras marked as IP66 can be mounted outside, but it is still a good idea to check the operating temperature of each camera, the differences can be quite dramatic.
All clear, but don’t have a camera yet? Feel free to check our recommended cameras.
I hope this helped, however if you should have any questions, feel free to contact me or our team via our Live chat. We are ready & happy to help!
ISC is a traditional security show focused on security, especially video surveillance, access control systems and devices related to security & automation
The event is organized on three different locations worldwide, we attended three times already. This time we had our own stand accompanied with our excited team on ISC West Las Vegas.
It was simply huge. Over 1,000 exhibitors had their booth there. It seemed like all important and wanna-be-important companies were there. I visited most of the booths and my team talked to more than two hundred visitors at our booth too. Here are our thoughts.
Internet upload connectivity means still some limitation for higher adoption of pure cloud based video platforms. This is also the reason why angelcam is focused to customers with up to 10-20 cameras on one location. We can see two main solutions for this pain:
Both promising up to 50% increase in video compression efficiency. This means that same video quality with lower bandwidth or higher video quality with the same bandwidth consumption. We’ll cover these technologies later on our blog [subscribe for updates here] in more detail, so for now I’ll say only:
Zipstream is on the market for some time. It works with selected AXIS camera models, supports all existing solutions (inc. angelcam) and video players supporting h.264. To be mentioned Zipstream smarter bandwidth consumption works just when used with h.264 codec.
We saw tons of h.265 supported cameras at the show. When h.265 is so great why it’s still not widely adopted by the ecosystem? Crucial is the video player compatibility for web and mobile devices. It’s 2015 – Flash should be gone by now, right? 🙂 Despite that we believe in h.265 and have plans on supporting it in the near future.
Chinese guys “owned the show”! Countless booths of small manufacturerst and OEMs and big successful brands like Dahua and Hikvision flooded the show. What was visible too is plenty of new Korean producers entering the market. Partially because of the support from Korean government. Chinese and Korean manufacturers often offer very similar range of products and both usually do the same mistakes: their booths are pretty similar, boring and most importantly – staff’s English & excitement definitely doesn’t stand to US standards ;(
It’s a bit sad as we see a decent demand from our resellers and customers for more affordable cameras.
People want to use different hardware and software suppliers. They want to combine them as one can be great at something where others have weaknesses. Something like that was not possible when manufacturer decided to avoid industry standards. They were basically trying to lock customer to their products. One famous example in our industry is Dropcam. We’re happy that more and more manufacturers chose the opposite way and decided to become open to other products & platforms (e.g. Mobotix is opening their cameras).
At ISC West we were pleased to see that almost every device has an open API or other industry standards for communication with the rest of the world: RTSP, ONVIF, Zigbee. The last two named have their own standalone booths as well:
ONVIF is an industry standard that helps platforms and recording devices communicate with cameras (from technical perspective it’s just API). Zigbee is a communication standard that allows devices to communicate with each other, particularly useful for home automation.
At Angelcam we are continuously looking for opportunities within these standards and machine to machine (M2M) integrations. To provide an example, one of the most requested features from our customers is turning off the video recording when specific people are present in the house/office. This requires integration between alarm system and recording device. We are currently working on a prototype for this specific use case. Stay tuned for more info soon.
These were my three spotted trends from ISC West in Vegas. I would be happy to hear your observations about current trends.
Happy recording! 🙂
We at angelcam are all about getting more from security cameras, especially when it serves a good purpose…which is exactly what’s happening right now in India! Check out what Jaganmohan Kataru from watchlive.in does in order to make parents feel safe about their kids. Who knows, maybe the story will inspire you to do the same thing in your town!
Jaganmohan’s goal is very clear.
“We want to offer transparency of the school administration to parents, providing the ability to see a child whenever they want and wherever they want.”
In other words, the parents are able to connect to a live stream from their kids’ school and see if everything’s OK, any time of the day. Since children’s safety is one of the Indian government’s (and people’s) top priorities, this is a great step forward.
Pretty cool, right?
They (and you as well, should you decide to follow Jaganmohan’s example) only need 3 things to get the project up and running: an IP camera, Internet connection and angelcam.
Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. 🙂
When creating something like watchlive.in, an IP camera in every classroom is crucial of course. That’s the “eye” of the whole thing, but it still needs a “brain”. And that’s where we step in with one of our apps, the Live Streaming.
This article is all about inspiring you with what an IP camera can do, so let’s skip the details. After all, you can explore them later.
Oh and there’s one important thing that we feel needs to be said: the streaming is, of course, completely safe and protected by each parent’s unique password, so no “unauthorized” person gets to watch it.
IP cameras are indeed sophisticated devices. However, you’d be surprised by how much more they can do with such little effort from your side when enriched with the right software!
Should you be interested in exploring ours, you can start right from this place or you can contact us at anytime.
Talk to you soon!
Have you heard about ISC West? What a silly question, of course you have! It’s “THE largest security industry trade show in the U.S.”, and we have no doubt about that.
… you’ll get the unique chance to meet a part of the angelcam team in person:)
Our CEO Peter, partnership success director Kate, product marketing manager Monica and partnership manager Luke are all on their way to Las Vegas.
Their mission: to get to know you!
You might have a question or two about our existing apps. You’d like to get a sneak peek of what we’re working on – whether ourselves or in cooperation with our partners. Or you feel like teaming up with us and becoming our reseller is a pretty good idea.
Whatever the reason or question, look for booth 30092 to get answers. Yep, that’s where we’ll be hanging out at this year’s ISC West.
Stop by, we’re looking forward to having a chat with you!
Since you ended up reading our blog, you likely know a thing or two about IP cameras. Way to go! However, some of you might be new to what we call “the world’s first app-store for IP cameras”. We decided to step in and try to make it as clear as possible in a few articles.
So this is the first blog post from a series where we are going to introduce our apps one by one, give you useful tips on what you can achieve with them and inspire you to explore new ways of using your IP camera.
Without further ado, let’s get into it and start with the first one, the Time-Lapse!
Yep. Most of you are probably used to creating time-lapse videos with a regular camera. We’re definitely not saying you should stop it right away, however…
… When we were working on our Time-Lapse app (in cooperation with our friends from 6artisans) the goal was pretty clear: come up with something that enables you to use your security camera with the same result, but with less hassle and more intuitive ways to work with the final “product”.
Did we succeed? Feel free to find out for yourself🙂
It’s not that we are trying to limit your fantasies, however, we found out that Time-Lapse users have several favorite “topics” that can inspire you:
Got more tips? Leave us a comment;)
As we said at the beginning, this is the first blog post from the series that has just started. In the upcoming weeks you are going to find out how one of the most prestigious Czech universities used Time-Lapse to document an event, what you should bear in mind when setting up a new recording, and we’ll also share some time-lapse best practices with you.
CES (Consumer Electronics Show) is one of the world’s biggest gathering of consumer technology innovators. And when I say one of the biggest, I mean it’s really, really huge!
More than 160,000 people flew to Las Vegas this year to get some serious business done. Angelcam was there too, and I personally talked to over 40 camera manufacturers. I also spent some time talking to home automation platforms, because I was very curious to get to know how they will use cameras in 2015, but let’s leave this topic for another blog post;)
As CES is very focused on consumers, big players like Axis, Dahua, Hikvision or Tyco skipped the show completely, and others like Foscam, D-Link & ICRealtech/ICRealtime were just introducing home cameras and having private meetings.
To be honest, nothing interesting happened at CES in terms of hardware. But I found these 3 highlights you might find interesting as well.
CES WIFI/IP CAMERA HIGHLIGHTS
1) Sengled – now releasing smart lighting with IP camera including smartphone surveillance app with face recognition.
2) Giroptic – 360° wifi camera with sd card for outdoor fun as well as home security when you replace your light bulb with it.
3) Skybell – quite a few of such doorbells made their appearance at CES, this one was the most interesting piece. Pretty handy for the delivery and for just checking up on your home or your office frontdoor.
THE BIGGEST LEARNING FROM CES 2015: P2P is getting very articulated within Asian manufacturers
I was quite surprised when I entered the Asian Pavilion and started talking to Shenzhen manufacturers.
Almost half of them said they had just launched their P2P (peer-to-peer) with their own servers in US, Europe & China! Yet they hadn’t connected all of their camera types.
They have started with cameras that are intended to be used for homes, so we will see if they can scale it. None of these manufacturers have their own cloud storage yet, but some of them said it was going to change in the next 1 – 3 years.
This movement may also be caused by the fact that Chinese manufacturers are “not just camera cases & chips assemblers” any more, they started founding their own development departments.
The way I see it, this is one big step towards cloud becoming the new standard in the near future.
PS: If you want to hear more about CES or just want to learn about angelcam partnerships, reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or add me on Skype: kate_pljaskovova
We will be at the British Machine Vision Conference – one of the major international conferences on computer vision and related areas organized by the British Machine Vision Association (BMVA).
To meet us there, e-mail Adam (email@example.com, @adamherout). Adam will be presenting research results related to traffic understanding titled “Automatic Camera Calibration for Traffic Understanding” – a soon-to-appear app available to our customers.